Obama Following Turkey Earthquake Reports With ‘Great Concern’

People try to save people trapped under debris in Tabanli village near the city of Van after a powerful earthquake struck eastern Turkey Sunday Oct. 23, 2011. (Abdurrahman Antakyali, Aatolia/AP Photo)

ABC News’ Tahman Bradley Reports:

Although the extent of casualties from a powerful earthquake in Turkey are unknown, President Obama on Sunday expressed condolences to the families of the victims.

In a statement released by the White House, the president said the U.S. has been following reports of the earthquake in Turkey’s eastern province of Van with great concern.

“On behalf of the American people, I express my deepest condolences to the families of the victims,” said Obama. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the brave men and women who are working to bring assistance to this stricken region.”

The U.S. stands ready to assist Turkey, Obama said.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed the president’s vow to help authorities in Turkey, if needed. Turkey has been an important U.S. ally in the war on terror.

The 7.2-magnitude earthquake collapsed about 45 buildings and left more than 70 people dead, according to local media reports.

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